Every year, the month of October rolls around and with it an opportunity to binge watch all the horror movies that may have slipped under your radar thus far. 2017 has been an outstanding year for horror films with even studio flicks making waves – It became an overnight international smash hit and deservedly so; M. Night Shyamalan’s Split returned the once maligned director to twisty-turny prominence; A Cure For Wellness delivered an eerie ode to gerontophobia and medical centers; and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Jordan Peele’s outstanding Get Out get some Oscar nods thrown its way by the end of the year. We’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of some of Halloween-season stuff you probably haven’t seen yet, all available at the click of a button for your Netflix streaming pleasure. We threw one from Amazon Prime on there as well, for those who take their streaming packages a little more robust. Watch one, watch them all, just go out and get in the mood for the best holiday of the year.
This fantastic Belgian cannibal-coming-of-age story thrives on examining the complexities of an abnormal sister-sister relationship when a young vegetarian veterinary student arrives at college and discovers a taste for flesh. Soon, she’s led down a path towards consuming her fellow classmates. The journey is predictably sick if never predictable. A smart, emotional story with plenty of gross-out horror moments, really strong attention to character and solid performances are complimented by squeamish depictions of body horror that can at times feel Cronenbergian and Lynchian. Not to mention the fact that, regardless of its genre, Raw is one of the very best films of the year.
A DARK SONG
This deliberate and intelligent chamber piece details the procedure of a dark spiritual ritual, diving into the nitty gritty semantics of crossing over as a grieving woman hires a a surly medium to connect with her lost child. But she has ulterior motives that may jeopardize the whole operation and he is an angry, at times abusive drunk. Wholly unusual and grossly involving, expertly paced and performed with gusto, this Irish horror is a breathe of fresh air in that it really is unlike anything you’ve seen before.
THE DEVIL’S CANDY
Sean Byrne’s heavy metal psycho feature is a devilish primal scream that plays equally with satanism, psychosis and spray paint. Ethan Embry is an artist hovering on the edge of success who, upon moving into a new house with his family, begins falling into otherworldly trances, creating unsettling canvas masterworks in his fugue state. Tense, unnerving and brimming with attitude, The Devil’s Candy executes a frightful and interesting spin on the haunted house subgenre, slipping in an emotionally resonant cautionary tale about the pratfalls of success and parenting and ultimately serving a fiery little shot of adrenaline and bloodletting sure to delight horror fans who like a little brimstone.
It took more than 25 years for Gerald’s Game, one of Steven King’s lesser known works, to find a silver screen adaptation and thankfully Mike Flanagan does a pitch perfect job of translating the sex game gone horrible wrong into a dread-inducing waking nightmare. Hallucinatory and perturbing, and fiercely acted by Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood, Gerald’s Game is a single-setting horror survival story that doubles as a powerful allegory about the specter of sexual abuse. It also has one of the grossest, most scream-worthy moments in all of 2017, if not the entire decade. So now you have to watch it, right?
Like its main character, the stripped down The Survivalist is an effective exercise in making the most of your available resources. The setting is post-apocalyptic, where food scarcity has destroyed civilization as we know it and a misanthropic farmer fights to keep his crops. When two women come to his farm looking for food, the man must protect what is his. Violent and tense, this low-broiling survival piece manages to be both sad and scary, presenting a dark tale of redemption in a wholly depressing setting. Strong performances make for strong characters to guide us through this tragic, masculine-dominated afterworld that at times feels like The Walking Dead were the zombies stripped out.
This inner city vampire story functions more as a quiet, thoughtful medication on gang violence and bullying than as an outright horror film but those looking for some counter programming to the mainstream scary movie joints will find a lot to appreciate here. Middle schooler Milo is obsessed with vampires, likely because he is one, and when he befriends Sophie, he struggles to keep his impulses in check. Sure on paper The Transfiguration sounds a lot like Let The Right One In moved to the Bronx (although it’s nowhere near as perfect) but there are social horror elements in this that make it pop and a resonate capstone that makes a powerful statement about being black in America, vampire or not.
AMAZON PRIME BONUS:
THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER
Two girls trapped at boarding school come undone in The Blackcoat Daughter’s, a sketchy character study that thrives on its chilling tone and a few huge surprises. Dark, humorless and totally unforgiving, this horror flick doesn’t apologize for being grim as hell, going full tilt into its own mind game of raising the hairs on the back of your neck. It marries together a few genres, with supernatural threats and psycho killers both posing significant trouble, and with a strong female cast and a simple but effective conceit, Osgood Perkins’ possession saga is a haunting little number sure to stick with you as you try to go to sleep later.